The State of our Union: America's health, by the numbers

"Those at most risk for the most serious outcomes of Covid-19, including hospitalization and death, are people afflicted by diet-related chronic diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease),” wrote the experts advising the government on the 2020Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

And that includes many of us, judging by our weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Here’s a snapshot of the nation’s health.

blood pressure graphic

Among people 65 and older, 78% have high blood pressure.

diabetes and prediabetes infographic

Among people 65 and older, 47% have prediabetes and 27% have diabetes (mostly type 2).

high LDL cholesterol infographic


"High" means at least 130 milligrams per deciliter.

excess weight infographic

Normal-weight adults are a minority.

bone loss infographic

If your "T-score" on a bone scan is -1.0 to -2.5, you have low bone mass (osteopenia). If it's -2.5 or lower, you have osteoporosis.

reduced muscle strength infographic

Experts use hand-grip strength as an indicator of muscle strength.

Sources: Circulation 141: e139, 2020 (blood pressure & LDL cholesterol), (diabetes), (adult overweight & obesity), (childhood overweight & obesity),

Osteoporos. Int. 28: 1979, 2017 (bone loss), (muscle strength).